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Eastern European Informal Working Group on Passenger Data meets in Albania

The OSCE Transnational Threats Department, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the International Organization for Migration, the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Ministry of Interior of Albania organized the fourth meeting of the Eastern European Informal Working Group on Passenger Data (EEIWG) on 22 and 23 May 2024 in Tirana, Albania.

This was the first meeting hosted by the country chairing the Group and it gathered more than 100 passenger data experts, both in person and online, from Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, Central Asia and beyond.

The EEIWG is a part of the UNOCT Countering Terrorist Travel Programme global initiative. Its objective is to support States in building their capabilities to detect and counter the movement of terrorists and serious criminals by collecting and using Advance Passenger Information (API) and enhancing information exchange, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017), and 2482 (2019), international standards and relevant privacy laws.

“Today’s event symbolizes our shared commitment to international co-operation, and underscores the critical importance of our collective efforts in enhancing passenger data exchange protocols. The timely and accurate reception and processing of passenger data are fundamental to identifying and preventing possible threats of terrorism, transnational crime, or other forms of illicit activity,” said Ambassador Alena Kupchyna, OSCE Co-ordinator of Activities to Address Transnational Threats.

During the event, the experts underscored the urgency of implementing legislation centred on protecting human rights when processing passenger data, alongside providing technical and expert assistance. They stressed the importance of early engagement with airlines and methods for analysing and profiling passenger data. The event presented an opportunity to strengthen links among the members of the EEIWG and beyond, including with other regional informal working groups around the globe. The participants also had an opportunity to visit a fully operational Albanian Passenger Information Unit and discuss the implementation of API systems at the national level.

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